2020 presidential election | 06 June 2020
Tentative dates set for October 22, 23 and 24
By Elsie Pointe
The office of the Electoral Commission has set the provisional dates for the 2020 presidential election for October 22, 23 and 24.
Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Danny Lucas, made this announcement yesterday in a press conference which followed the Electoral Commission’s closed door meeting with registered political parties.
“These dates are tentative, we have yet to confirm the dates as such but we believe that, in the context of things, they represent the dates that are best suited for the coming elections,” he highlighted.
“At the time we settled on these dates, COVID-19 had not reached Seychelles. We took into account various national events that were going to be held from August to November, and we also took into account the fact that we have national school exams in October and November.”
Mr Lucas added that the commission also did not want to disrupt Seychellois’ end of month transactions and hence why the dates were not tentatively scheduled for the very end of October.
The presidential election dates are expected to be confirmed two months before it is set to occur, Mr Lucas said.
This two-month period between the election date announcement and the election itself is said to be necessary given the possibility of a quarantine being in effect in the country where the Electoral Commission hopes to procure ballot papers and equipment.
Given the additional security details on the ballot papers and equipment, Mr Lucas indicated that these would most likely be acquired from abroad.
The Electoral Commission will also use this time to sort out the final electoral register.
The last presidential election was held between December 3 and 5, 2015 followed by a second round on December 16 and 18 the same year.
This time around, the residents of Perseverance will be able to vote in the presidential election since the district is now legally considered as the 26th constituency.
Ten political parties turned up for yesterday’s meeting with the Electoral Commission and were apprised of these developments.
These were United Seychelles (US), Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS), Seychelles National Party, Linyon Sanzman, Lafors Sosyal Demokratik, Independent Conservative Union Seychelles, Seychelles Patriotic Movement, Lalyans Seselwa, One Seychelles, and the Seychelles Party for Justice and Democracy.
Salina Sinon, senior legal officer at the Electoral Commission, noted that three other parties, who were not present in the meeting, are in the process of being closed down and liquidated. She explained that the commission will only make the names of the political parties and the reasons behind their dissolution known when this process is completed.
Other matters discussed during the meeting included the electoral reforms and amendments to laws such as the Political Parties Act and Elections Act which are expected to reach the National Assembly end of June.
Chief electoral commissioner Manuella Amesbury further revealed that the Electoral Commission is preparing to temporarily move its headquarters from Aarti Chambers, Mont Fleuri to the Sacos Towers where it will occupy the ground, first and second floors.
“We are preparing for an election and hence need more people and space. The Electoral Commission habitually made use of the National Library for this purpose but, given the state of the building, we have had to make other arrangements,” Mrs Amesbury said.
As for voter registration, chief registration officer Lynn Bilal stated that the Electoral Commissioner plans to roll out an aggressive voters’ education campaign following low turnouts in registrations.
First time voters are being encouraged to register before the electoral register is closed off when the election dates are confirmed. The Electoral Commission is extending its registration services beyond working hours to allow for increased engagement from voters.
It is also calling on 41 registered voters whose national identity numbers do not match the National Population Database (NPD), due to discrepancies at civil status, to come forward to correct their information on the register.